Archive for the ‘Political Philosophy’ Category

Plane Smart, Not Plain Stupid: The Evil Ones Hurt Equality, The Environment With Private Jets… And They Love It!

March 8, 2019

I have mentioned this many times over the years, here and there. Now The Economist tied it all up together in a neat little essay, which uses many of the concepts I used over the years, such as “plutocrats”, “subsidies for the rich”, “Isle of Man” (a European tax haven, Pluto friends of mine use it…), So I will quote, in extenso, this magazine to which I subscribe.

The Economist: “PLANE STUPID. Private jets receive ludicrous tax breaks that hurt the environment. Scrap them

Print edition | Leaders, Mar 7th 2019

The blue jeans and t-shirts of the global elite are no more comfortable than those worn by the middle class. They drink the same coffee, watch the same films and carry the same smartphones. But a gulf yawns between the rich and the rest when they fly. Ordinary folk squeeze agonizingly and sleeplessly into cheap seats. The elite stretch out flat and slumber. And the truly wealthy avoid the hassles and indignities of crowded airports entirely, by taking private jets. This would be no one else’s business but for two things. First, private jets are horribly polluting. Second, they are often—and outrageously—subsidised.”

Plutocracy rules the world, all the security we need: girls and jets for Plutos!

Let me notice in passing as I have done in the past: the truly wealthy do not pay, overall, taxes. Instead, it’s the other way around.  The truly wealthy are subsidized by the governments they are entangled with. The hold individuals have on the state is very clear in Russia, for all to see… because Russian economic plutocracy was created, ex nihilo from the Soviet plutocracy in the 1990s, a pretty blatant event; Western plutocracy is a much more convoluted affair, and the hiding is much better.

For example descendants of French aristocrats are very powerful and networked in France, but, for obvious reasons, they have become experts at modelling the minds of the simple folks in such a way that those simpletons in their yellow jackets can’t detect how much they serve the descendants of their old masters, through a state carefully tweaked, just so…

The Economist pursues what few media have dared to even approach, the obvious subservience of so-called democracies to global plutocracy. Because global it is: EU plutocrats serve wealthy masters, not just in Europe, but globally. The case of private jets makes that clear. The Economist:

“Private aviation was hit hard by the global financial crisis, when both companies and individuals sought to pare expenses. But now private jets are booming again. This is partly because new booking services and shared-ownership schemes are cutting the cost of going private and luring busy executives away from first- and business-class seats on scheduled flights (see article). But the boom is also a result of tax breaks, which are even more generous than those lavished on ordinary airlines. In Europe firms and individuals can avoid paying value-added tax on imported private jets by routing purchases through the Isle of Man. This scheme has cut tax bills by £790m ($1bn) for imports of at least 200 aircraft into the European Union since 2011. America’s rules are loopier still. Donald Trump’s tax reform allowed individuals and companies to write off 100% of the cost of a new or used private jet against their federal taxes. For some plutocrats this has wiped out an entire year’s tax bill. For others, it has made buying a jet extraordinarily cheap.”

And this is The Economist pointing at the outrageous subsidizing of plutocracy by statocracy. So why is it that European Union legislative process gave a billion Euro rebate to IMPORTERS of private jets? Surely, it’s not to improve European industry: those jets are imported, not made in the EU. Nor does this subsidy benefit any class of Europeans, except plutocrats. This is a particularly clear case where legislators are caught giving hot blow jets to their beloved plutos, source of their comfy future.

The Economist then dares to develop a particular example of how the full mechanism of plutocracy amplifies the Dark Side… the fact that plutocracy is not about just about abuse of power, wealth, subsidies for the rich, or jets, but about becoming more evil. Pluto_Kratia is really Evil-Power. Using private jets render individuals evil, and The Economist has the numbers to prove it:

“The case for flying on a private jet is that it can save time for someone, such as a chief executive, whose time is extraordinarily valuable. Hence companies can offset the cost of these flights against their corporate-tax bills. In some countries the use of a private jet is a tax-free perk for executives. But a growing volume of research suggests that flying the boss privately is often a waste of money for shareholders. One analysis, by icf, a consultancy, found that the jets are often used to fly to places where corporate titans are more likely to have holiday homes than business meetings, such as fancy ski resorts. A study by David Yermack of nyu Stern School of Business found that returns to investors in firms that allow such flights are 4% lower per year than in other companies. Users of such planes are also more likely to commit fraud: a careless attitude to other people’s money sometimes shades into outright criminality, it seems.

In general user of evil mechanisms are also more likely to become ever more evil. This is not just a case of “qui vole un oeuf vole un boeuf” (who steals an egg steals an ox). This is the case of who abuses a child, and gets away with it, is enticed to destroy the planet. Nothing to do with fear, quite the opposite. It’s the (all too human) will to destruction unleashed.

The more they get away with it, the more they do it, because destruction is what they are longing for. An example is Brexit. Plutocrats of all sorts paid (illegally) to prop the Brexit campaign, using everything from private jets to hypnotists and paid Labour officials. And murder was no problem, for them Plutos, naturally:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/08/arron-banks-ignored-deal-to-stop-pro-brexit-ads-after-jo-cox-death

Actually Member of Parliament Jo Cox didn’t just “die”. She was murdered by a right wing extremist unemployed loser, driven mad by anti-European propaganda, one week before the Brexit vote. He targeted Cox, long a volunteer at Oxfam, a “passionate defender” of the European Union and immigration, because he saw her as “one of ‘the collaborators’ [and] a traitor” to white people.[1]

But back to We The People subsidized private planes, now that we have evoked People subsidized plutocratic media, and subsidized plutocratic abuse and arrogance (I am repeating myself, Plutos being all over opinion is formed). Says The Economist:

“The environmental effects of corporate jets are dire. A flight from London to Paris on a half-full jet produces ten times as much in carbon emissions per passenger as a scheduled flight, according to Terrapass, a carbon-offset firm. New supersonic business jets under development will make that a lot worse. On one estimate, their emissions will be five to seven times higher than for today’s models. Amazingly, these emissions are largely unregulated. Aviation is not covered by the Paris agreement to limit climate change, and most private jets are excluded from corsia, a carbon-offsetting scheme involving most airlines. All in all, private planes could produce 4% of American emissions by 2050 compared with 0.9% today.”

All air travel is bad for the environment. Business class is worse than economy class, because it burns more jet fuel per passenger. Private jets are more damaging by an order of magnitude. The tax breaks for cooking the planet in this way cannot be justified. They should all be scrapped. Carbon emissions should be taxed, not subsidised by the sleepless masses in steerage and the even less fortunate souls who never fly.

[This article appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the headline “Plane stupid”]

Thus spoke The Economist! it’s nearly as if reading yours truly. Or when even the pro-plutocratic press has had enough…. of plutocracy.

All air travel is bad for the environment? Yes. And it’s going to get worse: within two decades, air travel, from growth of air traffic is supposed to become 25% of total CO2 emissions (a technological solution would be to go hydrogen, or hybrid… but either requires much more work.)

Private jet service offers many advantages to plutocrats: it’s much faster, there is no security, one can be driven to the door of the aircraft (thus a hijacked private jet can thus be flown into the White House… and then pundits and politicians will declare nobody could imagine that…). However, the more society offers to plutocrats, the more they want: greed is the specifically human oldest instinct. Greed means our ancestors were not satisfied living in the trees, they needed to conquer the savannah. Good. However, too much greed kills, it always has. And now it’s the planet which is getting killed.

The situation with private jets subsidies demonstrate how grotesquely bought our politicians are.  It’s not because Obama and his friend the Plutos fly private, that’s a good thing. There are plenty of private jets in Nigeria, a desperately poor country. It’s related: extreme poverty is caused by plutocracy: it’s the lake plutocrats love to reflect on. Clip their wings.

Hurting humanity is plain smart, and what doctor Planet Earth ordered. At least plain smart for the winners. However, that has to be done in moderation, and the alternative to mass destruction is to navigate out of excess before the former becomes necessary, or unavoidable. This way winners and losers can share destiny… in those times of unfolding mass extinction.

Patrice Ayme

Colonization and All That: All Over, And Not the Worst!

August 25, 2018

The first indication that people are evil-minded is when they too readily, and too frantically, diabolize others… And diabolizing colonists, and their descendants, falls in that category. And that fall, as we will see, is particularly deep, and not self-conscious: indeed, most of the world population descends from colonists. And most the greatest successes of humanity, of its greatest civilizations, derived from colonizations. (When some scatterbrains encountered these remarks of mine, they rushed to call me a colonialist; that, of course, is one more error! Seeing the good side and the ubiquitousness of many colonizations doesn’t mean all colonizations were good: some were horrific abominations… Agricultural Europe itself was the bloom of a colonization from the Fertile Crescent…)

The human species is a colonizing species. Colonization has many potential dimensions. For example, it can be ideological: Indonesia was colonized that way from India (Buddhism), later from Arabia (Islam), and then from the Dutch. (Arguably since, by the CIA and its ilk.)

Yet, French president Macron, anxious to please North African dictatorships, recently called “colonization” a crime against humanity… a real barbarity“. Problem: over last 3,000 years most of Earth got mostly occupied by colonizers: all the Americas, Oceania, most of Africa, nearly of Europe, Japan, Indonesia, arguably most of China, etc.

Afghanistan was colonized by Achaemenid Persians, Greeks, Buddhists, Hindus, Mongols, Islamists, Moghols, Persians again, etc. Can we say Brits, Soviets and US/UN colonized Afghanistan? Not really the correct semantics! A return to correct human ethology is no colonization!

***

Politics Is Practical Philosophy, Yet, Philosophy:

Long ago, the tyrant of Syracuse got the top literary prize in Athens. It is traditional for philosophers to despise politics. Yet, most worthy philosophers were deeply entangled with politics, when not with politicians themselves: I know of no exceptions. But I want to generalize that: I would claim that, shockingly enough, most worthy politicians were philosophers. Whether they claimed to be so or not, is besides the point. Most influential politicians implemented new philosophies, not to say religions (Muhammad). Sometimes the new philosophy was implemented most spectacularly: think of Czar Peter the Great not just torturing to death “Old Believers”, and forcefully modernizing Russia into the West European model… under the penalty of death.

Some have objected there is no philosophy in, say, Julius Caesar’s writings. Well, there was enough for him to be the leader of the “Populares”. Caesar, a “populist“! And so on. Out of the top 30 leaders of Rome, all of them led philosophically. Even when Agrippina, the mother of Nero, imposed herself as Rome’s leader, to a macho Senate, she was doing a philosophical work, and opening the way to Augusta Galla Placidia, and several Frankish queens, the most important of who would outlaw slavery in 658 CE.

Eliminating slavery was also an eminent philosophical work. Interestingly, Saint Bathilde’s order was not preceded by the establishment of an entire anti-slavery philosophy by some eminent philosopher. Christianism pretty much ignored slavery as a problem, and the then just established Islam, took it for granted. The first eminent philosopher to condemn slavery was Bathilde herself… Yes, Bathilde, herself the top politician, the top ruler of her time in Europe, the Merovingian queen and ex-slave herself!

All the Americas Are Colonial. So Is Europe, Invaded by the Celto-Germans (among others). So is China, which has been pretty much colonized by the Han…

Although the West of China was colonized by Indo-Europeans who brought a lot of technology, (and killed the men, keeping the women for breeding, as modern genetics reveal).

***

All Politicians, Including Macron, Trump, Are Philosophers, Whether They Know It, or Not:

It’s not just Voltaire, Adam Smith, Rousseau, De Sade, Goethe, Herder, Hegel, Ricardo, Marx, Proudhon, Nietzsche who can be viewed as having forged much of today’s contemporary debate. When Earl Grey delivered a let’s-declare-war-to-Germany discourse in Parliament, August 2, 1914, a certain idea of what civilization was and entailed was loudly defended. Philosopher Bertrand Russell disagreed so deeply he was thrown in prison for his pro-Kaiser, pro-German plutocracy stance. Earl Grey was philosophically right, Russell was wrong.

And of course, Kant, Hitler were “philosophers”, in the sense that hundreds of millions Europeans thought they would “guide” them towards better worlds. Thanks to idiotic, self-contradictory, most inferior, extremely lethal ideologies. But philosophy is relative, like time itself.

Indeed, both wisdom (sophia) and love (philo) are relative. The wisdom of a slug is not that of a sea otter (their time perceptions are not the same, to start with). Hitler’s idea of wisdom was mostly demented (it could only hurt what he claimed to defend), and his idea of love was akin to the self-love of a suicidal maniac (Hitler engaged in a war he was sure to lose, in spite of a miraculous victory in a battle against France… a victory which made it all the more certain that he would lose the war).

China is a linguistic patchwork which reveals a tormented colonial past. The imperialism of Mandarin is quickly burying all this.

Much of Africa was colonized, by Peuls, Arabs, Bantus. All of North Africa was invaded by the Arabs, and the Arabic language was imposed to the Latin, Berber and Coptic speaking populations. When the French invaded Algeria in 1830s (in part to fight piracy and Ottomans alike), they used as an argument that they, as heirs of Rome, were coming back, with a modern version of Latin, the old language of civilization there… It’s a fact that Arabic was imposed on non-genetically Arabic population: a successful colonization, linguistically, religiously, and socially…   

African colonization by Europeans in the late Nineteenth Century was driven by the subtle argument that, to stop slavery in Africa, Europe had to take control. That may sound outrageous, but it is a fact that European powers were successful in stopping slavery in Africa (with some exceptions, like Mauretania). Also the argument is so good, it has been reused by the European Union and the United Nations themselves since: the idea was that some parts of Africa needed to be put under tutelage. A few decades ago, it meant the full power of UN embargoes was used to destroy racist regime (in Rhodesia, South Africa). More recently aid to say the Republic of Congo was given, but only protected by accounting from UN, and, or EU. The chief of Sudan was accused of crimes against Humanity by the International Court of Justice (a UN agency based in La Hague). The lightning military interventions of France in CAR, Ivory Coast, and Mali were all approved by the UN.

My own dad, a senior geologist, was employed by the UN in Cameroon, and Kenya to check that UN financed geological prospecting was done correctly.

Much of this doesn’t have to do with “colonization”, but with correct administration, and what has long been called the “mission civilisatrice”… which Caesar himself indulged in Gaul, when, among other things, he forcefully replaced the Helvetii where they came from (Helvetia).

***

Horrendous Colonizations:

There are plenty of abominable “colonizations”. Except they are not really “colonizations”. Some are outright exterminations which the Mongols instrumentalized, to encourage awe and obedience, all over. Real colonizations should involve colonists, Roman style (the Romans gave both the word and the semantics). For example, the exploitation of Congo by king Leopold of Belgium hardly deserves the label of “colonization”. The invasion of Mesoamerica by the Spaniards was a colonization, and it incorporated abominable ways, and outright aggressions the aim of which was to destroy civilizational diversity.

An example is the colonization of the Tarascan state (west, and enemy of the Aztecs). This was gratuitous, and highly controversial in Spain. The main Spanish perpetrator lived a long life, and always refused to recognize his crime, which was deliberate (conquistador in chief Cortez had agreed with a modus vivendi with Tarascan). Basically he held that Christian/Spanish civilization couldn’t allow a competing model to survive.

Roman colonizations involved instead retired legionaries invited to exploit agriculturally some land distributed by the Roman state (such land was aplenty after war). That was somewhat more civilizing and pacific. There were bloody revolts against Roman colonists, but rarely (the most famous being that led by Boudicca in Britain).

***

Semantics Can Make No Prisoners:

The foremost reason to write against the wholesale condemnation of “colonialism” is that it’s deeply unintelligent, as it makes no distinction, and choses the easy way out of condemning all of humanity (as Buddha initially did, before he realized the gross errors of his early fanaticism). Condemning “colonialism” is also deeply hypocritical: it implicitly pretends that those who do the condemning aren’t at all like those they condemn. But of course they are: tribal chief at 39 years of age of armed forces capable of killing 50 million people in half an hour, Macron exists, but shouldn’t… While they pretend to be better than what they condemn, “colonialism”, Macron and his ilk are actually worse than anything humanity conceived before.

Right, it’s not exactly the fault of the top politicians: somebody needs to tell them, that their Politically Correct spewing is now viewed for what it is: not very smart. Somebody they will hear. More sophisticated ideologies need to spread (but they won’t come from official philosophers, salaried where they are, because they support the establishment). It’s not enough to go cackle around against “colonialism”.  It’s actually counter-indicated…

There is as much colonialism as they are colonialism, and colonies. An example is that the Portuguese, Spanish, French, Dutch, English and Russian colonies in the Americas differed deeply, in the philosophies which guided them. It is a fact that the English colonialism was the most exterminationist.

Patrice Ayme